D. Shawn & SOUL

Darius Middleton (24), better known as D. Shawn is a singer/songwriter, producer, vocal teacher, and CEO of D. Shawn & Soul LLC. A graduate from North Carolina Central University with a degree in Music/Vocal Performance and a minor in Jazz Studies, D. Shawn has been a driving up and coming artist; he started singing at the age of four, and has worked with and/or opened up for some of the biggest names in the industry so far such as: 9th Wonder, Musiq Soulchild, Ginuwine, Ty Dolla Sign, Migos and more. Alongside Soul, Middleton currently runs the entire D. Shawn and Soul business, teaches vocal lessons, while having constant performances/studio work. While being a full-time artist, Middleton still finds a way to give to the community; he's currently , a voice/piano instructor at Rock N Roll High School in Apex NC, and prepping for his second tour which starts in November!!

Howard Joyner (27), better known as Soul, is an American keyboard player, record producer, audio engineer, and songwriter. As a former student of North Carolina Central University, studying Music Industry with a concentration in Business/Mass Communications and having a passion for music stemming from an early age, Soul is now the Founder of ‘Give Em Soul’, a music production company based out of Durham,NC. 

With these efforts Soul has had the opportunity to collaborate and produce for industry talents including: 9th Wonder, JAMLA records artist Rapsody, Heather Victoria, Khrysis, Elzhi, Amber Navran of Moonchild and a growing list of upcoming artists.

Avery “A-M” Gunn is a 25-year-old producer, composer, and songwriter. His love and passion for music was discovered and cultivated at an early age in church.  With the ability to create with extreme versatility he is able to standout amongst a myriad of talents. Growing up in North Jersey he began to discover his love for piano indulging in artist such as Bill Evans, Thelonius Monk, Oscar Peterson and various others.  Avery would later relocate to North Carolina where he became heavily influenced by the emerging “trap music” sound. 

 While attending Elizabeth City State University studying classical piano he began to expound upon different gifts such as rapping, singing, and producing. Artist like Timbaland and Pharrell became the paradigm for his creative aspirations. With his ability to produce, write, sing, rap and play multiple instruments many doors have opened in his favor. In 2016 Avery accompanied pop singer "Tinashe" on her Joyride World Tour , and has also had the opportunity to produce, score and write for films such as “Drumline 3”, “The Perfect Match”, Honey 3 & 4, Chocolate City 3, Being Mary Jane, Gangland: A Love Story and many others.  Avery is expecting and working towards a bright and promising future hoping to inspire and honor God with his gifts.  


Hope Baxter was born and raised in the “Queen City”, Charlotte, NC. Baxter boasts an array of experiences as a president of Eagle Access, and the National Association of Black Journalists. She also serves as a mentor in one of the campus’ mentorship programs named Eagle Alliances.  Baxter joined the cheerleading team in August 2015 after cheering for all four years of high school at Hopewell High School in Huntersville, North Carolina.  On this team, she served as one of the captains which likewise well-prepared her for her position as a captain on her collegiate cheerleading team. 

Baxter also runs a YouTube channel highlighting topics such as make-up, NCCU student life, and NCCU campus news. Running two highly recommended student media organizations, volunteering with the theatre department, while studying Mass Communication can be stressful but she balances it and gives back to her school through media.

Carryngton Walton, 22, is a Senior at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro studying Consumer Apparel, Retail Studies and Business. From Tampa Fl, she is the influencer behind @thepnkc she also is the founder of @pwiblackstudents and @pwigreeks; two social media outlets for young entrepreneurs, looking to collaborate and network wiith other students from around the world. Carryngton carries a sociable personality, along with brilliant intellect, business savy, and a love for poetry and writing. Be sure to watch out for a new Poetry/Music Project in the near future in collaborations with D. Shawn & Soul!

Billy Thomas (22) or better yet known by Tré is a young ambitious musician and entrepreneur from Laurinburg, North Carolina. Music in his eyes was love at first sight since the age of two and It’s something he holds dear to his heart as it has an ability to reach masses in forms of a universal language. Beginning as a drummer playing in church he has matriculated in to a top notch producer, with the abilities to play multiple instruments and a voice to soothe your soul the future is very bright. While studying music at North Carolina Central University his musical passion and thrive for business transformed him into a young mogul. One bite at a time he plans on cultivating his desires, dreams, ambitions, and goals into fuel for the younger generation to propel them to destinations they deem unattainable. You can follow him on his journey @treonthedrums on Instagram.

Patrick Omar Minor is currently twenty-two years old. He is a graduate who studied Business Administration with a concentration in Finance at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). He proceeded to work in a Benefit Corporation, where he is a Business Intelligence Analysts. By finding the irony and humor in overpowering situations, Patrick has become resilient in the face of adversity.  Surviving Sickle Cell Disease has been a constant struggle since birth, but has brought consciousness to him that he is all that can ever stand in his way. Deeply inspired by the faith of his rural community, Patrick established a scholarship named the P.A.T Scholarship also known as The Practice Aspiring Truths Scholarship his sophomore year of college. This scholarship was established to identify and reward students who utilize his or her morals and values to persevere in day-to-day life. Grateful to his hardships in life, Patrick makes sure that all individuals who cross his path are as determined to move forward and willing to give back as he is.

Oghenetejiri E. E. Adjekpiyede is a 1st generation African American of Krio (The Gambia) & Urhobo (Nigeria) descent. 

Tejiri has been blossoming into a professional artist since 2016. Her areas of focus are visual art, music production, spoken word/written poetry, and modern-contemporary dance. 

On any blank canvas spread across these areas, you’ll find an eccentric fusion of intellectual, intuitive and cultural information as the foundation. 

Through staying true to self and maintaining determined and persistent attitude, Tejiri is set to graduate from North Carolina A&T with a B.A. in African American Studies December 2018. Her time in Aggieland  brought forth the importance of transparency in self awareness, creativity, and community. 

Armed with a myriad of experiences under her belt, love, and a light filled heart - there is no doubt this woman is a destined gatekeeper.